Peace and Piece

Commonly Confused Words

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The words peace and piece are homophones: they are pronounced the same but have different meanings. The noun peace means contentment or the absence of war. The noun piece refers to a portion or a part of a whole. As a verb, piece is often followed by together and means to complete or join into a whole (as in "piece together a quilt") .

Idiomatically, you may "hold your peace" (stay silent) or "speak your piece" (say what you have to say).

See the examples and usage notes below.

Examples

  • "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
    (Jimi Hendrix)
  • "Sitting at the table one day, I held the fork in my left hand and pierced a piece of chicken."
    (Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 1969)
     
  • "You can sign any peace treaty you want, give back this piece of land and that piece of land, but peace is never going to happen until those things do. It's got to start with us learning each other's names. With us feeling responsible for each other's fates."
    (Naomi Ragen, The Sacrifice of Tamar. Crown, 1994)
     
  • "Speak your piece; then hold your peace. Don't restate, restate, and restate. Don't summarize if you have only written a few pages."
    (Mary Lynn Kelsch and Thomas Kelsch, Writing Effectively: A Practical Guide. Prentice-Hall, 1981)

Usage Notes

  • "'Piece' has the word 'pie' in it, which should remind you of the familiar phrase 'a piece of pie.' You can meditate to find peace of mind, or you can get angry and give someone a piece of your mind."
    (Paul Brians, Common Errors in English Usage. William, James, 2003)
     
  • "Whereas peace of mind is calm assurance, a piece of one's mind is something a person says in a fit of pique. But the two are surprisingly often confounded."
    (Bryan Garner,Garner's Modern American Usage. Oxford University Press, 2009)

Practice

(a) "_____ is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

(b) I never met a _____ of chocolate I didn't like.

Answers

 

(a) "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

(b) I never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like.

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs

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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Peace and Piece." ThoughtCo, Apr. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/peace-and-piece-1689588. Nordquist, Richard. (2017, April 12). Peace and Piece. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/peace-and-piece-1689588 Nordquist, Richard. "Peace and Piece." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/peace-and-piece-1689588 (accessed May 27, 2018).